This week I and Number One Son did our big, exciting trip to London. This was a on-the-shoestring test event, when I saw if the coach trips will be OK. I could carry out the whole trip with travel and food with less money than a train trip would have taken me. And I was not disappointed. On the way there, Number One Son was observing the windmills and trucks and munching his snacks and on the way back looking exhaustedly the landscape - while I took a two-hour nap. I had been working the previous day in the Cambridge University Library and driven back to Leicester in the evening.
The success of the trip was aided by the fact that the chosen destination, the Natural History Museum, was on the same area as the Victoria Coach Station, only a few underground stops away. Victoria Station has a McDonalds and the minion toys currently on offer as a Happy Meal toy, this pit stop was not a miss. We scored a beefeater minion, to our joy. Victoria Station also has a Sainsbury, so topping up with picnic food and snacks and drinks was easy.
The underground ride - surprisingly long for only a two stops in central London - delivered a train ride, something Number One Son loves. The South Kensington station is only a stone-throw away from the Natural History Museum and on the way there were French embassy with some added bobbies to see. The Museum also has outdoor spaces, so we could pop outside and Number One Son could run around scaring pigeons with other kids. There was also an ice cream van with prices to match with the location...
A few people shared our idea and in times there was a huge queue to the dinosaur section. However, I just let Number One Son to choose the first stops. We wondered to the sea creature and reptile section with a whale shark mentioned in the Octonauts getting a mention. We also saw a 1970s film about human perception and saw huge blue whale model. We also spent time exploring the wildlife area where there were different ecotype displays outdoors and assistants to help to spot different bugs and crawlies in the water. Then it was time to dinosaurs.
I learnt during this trip how bad my son's vertigo is. The dinosaur exhibition starts with a bridge way in the ceiling and my son just could not take the height. But there were so many people we could just walk in the queue slowly out from the bridge with Number One Son declining to hear any explanation of the dinorsaur skeletons on show. Only when we got the ramp by the robot T. Rex he could relax. He was just fine downstairs looking at the dinosaur eggs and viewing a 'dinosaurs in the cinema and cartoons' short film. This part finished in the dinosaur shop where he could choose between the stegosaurus skeleton and dinosaur cookie cutters and natural museum drinks bottom combo. He went for the skeleton to add into his quite numerous dinosaur toy collection.
The real treat in the end was the butterfly house. Number One Son spotted butterfly eggs and could have stared at the cocoons and emerging butterflies forever. There were huge moths eating oranges and beautiful blue and green butterfly flying about. We even saw some furry catepillars on leaves.
As a coincidence, the most exciting family event in the Medieval Guildhall in Leicester was the following day. 'Medieval Mayhem' was exactly what it said in the tin. Let little boys to create their crowns, swords and shields and watch them run around fencing and screaming of joy. A couple of hours of this intersected by a face painting session and a quick trip to the Cathedral to see Richard III guaranteed that Number One Son needed a leisurely Friday. He was absolutely knackered, already in the evening. In all respects, it was the best family event I have been locally so far. The children were so happy.